Health Advice for Norway

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Health Advice for Norway

  • The water quality in Norway is mostly adequate and tap water is always drinkable (except on boats, trains etc).
  • The hygiene in public kitchens is very good, and food poisoning rarely happens to tourists.
  • Norway can get relatively warm in the summer, but be prepared to bring warm clothes (sweater, windbreaking/waterproof jacket), as they might come in handy. It's hard to predict the weather, and in summer, you may experience severe weather changes during your stay.
  • Tourists hiking in the high mountains (above the forest) should bring sports wear for temperatures down to freezing (zero degree C).
  • Norway has a high density of pharmacies. Nose sprays and standard pain killers (paracetamol, aspirin) can also be purchased in grocery stores and gas stations.
  • The sun is generally not as strong as in southern Europe. Keep in mind that in cool conditions (low temperatures or wind) you don't feel that the sun burns your skin. The air is often very clear and clean in the North and UV-levels can be high despite the low sun. Also keep in mind: the sun is stronger in the high mountains, radiation is multiplied on or near snow fields as well as water surfaces. Even when it's cloudy the light can be strong on snow fields. Do not underestimate the power of the Nordic sun! Bring sunglasses when you go to the high mountains, when you go skiing in spring and when you go to the beach.
  • In southern Norway there are ticks (flått) that appear in summertime. They can transmit Lyme's disease (borreliosis) and more serious TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) through a bite. The risk areas for TBE are mainly along the coast from Oslo to Trondheim. Although incidents are relatively rare and not all ticks carry diseases, it's advisable to wear long trousers rather than shorts if you plan to walk through dense or tall grass areas (the usual habitat for ticks). You can buy special tick tweezers from the pharmacy that can be used to remove a tick safely if you happen to get bitten. You should remove the tick from your skin as quickly as possible and preferably with the tick tweezers to reduce the risks of getting an infection. If the tick bite starts to form red rings on the skin around it or if you experience other symptoms relating to the bite, you should go visit a doctor as soon as possible. Since ticks are black, they are more easily found if you wear bright clothes.
  • There's only one type of venomous snake in Norway: the European adder (hoggorm), which has a distinct zig-zag pattern on its back. The snake is not very common, but lives all over Norway up to the arctic circle (except for the highest mountains and areas with little sunshine). Although its bite hardly ever is life-threatening (except to small children and allergic people), be careful in the summertime especially when walking in the forests or on open fields. In the unlikely event that one encounters the adder, the most common and effective advice to simply stomp hard on the ground (not on the adder!). The adder will feel the vibration and seek to get away, as it will only attack if all its attempts to avoid contact fail. If you are bitten by a snake, seek medical assistance. The probability of being bitten is however very small, as the adder is very shy of humans.

Contact - For minor injuries and illness, go to the local "Legevakt" (emergency room/physician seeing patients without appointment). In cities this is typically a municipal service centrally located, be prepared to wait for several hours. In rural districts you typically have to contact the "district physician" on duty. For inquiries about toxins (from mushrooms, plants, medicin or other chemicals) call the national Toxin Information Office.

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